A federal jury in Texas has found Apple guilty of license infringement, due to which the corporate giant has been ordered to pay $532.9 million to patent licensing firm Smartflash LLC.
After contemplating for hours, the jury determined that Apple did not seek permission for using Smartflash’s patents despite being well aware that its iTunes software infringed three of them. While Smartflash had originally demanded $852 million in damages, it is happy with the jury’s ruling.
The infringed patents are related to DRM, data storage and payment systems
Smartflash had filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple in May 2013, claiming that the latter’s iTunes software infringed its patents associated with searching and storing downloaded songs, videos and games. The patent holder argued that an existing Apple executive had seen a demo of the technology more than 10 years ago via a meeting with the co-inventor of the patents.
Apple tried to wriggle out of the lawsuit by attempting to prove the patents as invalid. It brought the jury’s attention to previously patented inventions, which used the same technology that Smartflash claimed infringement over. The U.S. District Judge, however, had already passed a ruling a month ago about Smartflash’s patents not being basic enough to be considered invalid.
Smartflash says it is going to sue Samsung and Google next over patent infringement
Meanwhile, Apple has expressed its disappointment with the patent system, citing the outcome of the ruling as one of the reasons why reforms are necessary to restrain legal action by companies that don’t make products of their own. The corporate giant says it will appeal against the ruling, further adding that it refuses to pay a company for ideas that its employees have spent years innovating.
Smartflash has plenty of more battles lined up, however. The patent holder has also sued Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, HTC Corp and Google Inc with similar allegations.